Around the World with Papercraftographer Rich McCor
Instagram crush alert! @Paperboyo combines stunningly precise papercraft cut-outs with monuments and landmarks from all over the globe for amazing photographs that never cease to make us marvel (and occasionally chuckle too).
Thankfully, we don’t have to stare at our phones hoping for a new post. Rich McCor (the clever snapper behind @paperboyo) recently released a book of his fantastic photos and behind the scenes peeks at his process.
We still couldn’t get enough Rich in our lives, so we talked to him about his inspiration, his favorite gear and much more. Turns out the dude is just as delightful as his photos!
Who is Paperboyo?
Rich McCor hails from London, where he’ll sometimes crash with his folks between trips, but as his Instagram feed will show you, he spends a lot of time on the road – traveling the world!
His photography skills are matched by his penchant for papercrafting – which he combines to make truly unique, super clever photos.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your history with photography. When did you start taking photos?
A: I’ve never had any proper training with photography, which is probably part of the reason why I didn’t hesitate to break the rules and do something different.
I picked up my camera as a reason to explore London, I wanted to appreciate where I lived and instead of wandering around aimlessly it felt like taking a camera would give me a purpose to explore.
Through doing that I really fell in love both with London and with photography, but it soon occurred to me that I was taking the same photos as everyone else with a camera in the city. So I began thinking about how I could find my own style, and it made sense to combine my hobby of papercraft with my new found love for photography and so I began using cut-outs in my photos.
Work It Out
Q: How did you land on your signature paper-cutout style?
A: When I first used cut-outs in my photography, I would doodle images of london landmarks onto a white cutout and then hold them up in their real locations and take a photo. I liked the result, but it wasn’t really anything special so I kept experimenting until I figured out that using black card was more visual and that designing cut-outs that worked alongside the landmarks was more fun.
So I started developing ideas that transformed and embellished the landmarks I’d been taking photos of, and I revisited them with cut-outs to take new photos. It really felt like I was doing something that hadn’t been done before, and I got a real kick from that.
All the Gear
Q: What’s your favorite gear to use (and why do you love it)?
A: I like to keep my gear quite simple, and more importantly light because I travel so much. I use a Canon 6D along with a 24-105mm lens, a 12-24mm lens, a light tripod and that’s it.
I sometimes feel intimidated when I spend time with other photographers and they open up their camera bag to reveal about eight lenses, but for me a relatively simple kit works best.
Chicken or Egg?
Q: Do you carry around paper cut-outs looking for the perfect spot to shoot, or do you find locations and cut a silhouette to match?
A: My secret is that I do a lot of research. An awful lot in fact.
Before I visit a destination I research everything from landmarks to architecture to bizarre landscapes to the shape of the streetlamps- anything that I might be able to come up with an idea around. I then make the cutouts before I travel there, because when I’m in a location I want to spend any spare time exploring, not in my hotel room cutting out the cut-outs.
Usually for every ten ideas there are two that don’t work, so I still take my cutting board and gear with me in case I see something that didn’t come up in my research that I quickly come up with an idea for.
Cut to the Chase
Q: Your cut-outs are so precise! What’s your secret?
A: I’ve acquired quite a few tools since I started paper cutting about six years ago. I have craft knives in every size, I have flexible rulers that I can cut perfect circles around, I have hole punches that I can get tiny details with and I have a range of other little gimmicks that help.
It also helps that now it’s my full-time job I can spend more time crafting them than when I started out.
Q: What kinds of scenes inspire your cut-out shots? In other words what should an aspiring cut-out photographer be on the lookout for?
A: Patience and an open mind help. Sometimes I can spends hours trying to find an idea, and it’s not until I get an idea that makes me laugh or say out loud ‘oh that’s clever’ that I stop.
Around the World in Cut-outs
Q: Congrats on the book! We can’t stop passing it around the Photojojo office and flipping through it. What was the funnest part of putting together a book of your work?
A: I really enjoyed collecting the photos for the fails section at the back. I’ve taken so many photos that just haven’t worked or have gone hilariously wrong (such as the parrot trying to eat the pirate cutout). It was great to be able to share a bit of an insight into the behind the scenes, to show that it actually takes a fair bit of time and patience to make these images.
The Tough Stuff
Q: Was any part of it more challenging than you expected?
A: There’s plenty of challenges in putting together a book, but a lot of creative collaboration too. It was a really exciting experience to see the book slowly come together, and there were disagreements, but when I finally got my hands on the real thing I couldn’t have been happier.
Q: Where can people follow your photography, to make sure they never miss an inspiring snap?
A: I’m always posting my latest adventures on my Instagram, @paperboyo, and when I’m travelling I’m updating my insta-stories too, sharing the amazing destinations I’m lucky enough to visit.
Taking it Further
- Enter to win a copy of Rich’s “Around the World in Cut-outs” on our @Photojojo Instagram Feed before 3/4/18.
- Why wait to win? Pre-order a copy of Rich’s book from Chronicle Books.
Photos in this post not snapped by us are courtesy of our pals at Chronicle Books.